Policy Priorities

Improve air quality for Salt Lake City families

When Erin learned that the air quality in Salt Lake City could take two years off her then-newborn son’s life, instead of giving up, she dug in. No one will work harder as mayor to improve the quality of the air we breathe here in Salt Lake City than Erin Mendenhall.

On the City Council, Erin expanded our bus routes to give Salt Lake City residents a less expensive option for getting around the city, to make the system more geographically equitable, and to get more cars off our crowded streets. Three new routes come online in August.

As mayor, Erin will:

  • Help more Salt Lake City residents swap their polluting snowblowers and lawn mowers for climate-friendly electric ones;
  • Expand city bus routes to take more cars off the road while moving the system to an all-electric bus fleet;
  • Expand Hive Pass access to businesses and employees in SLC;
  • Raise the environmental standards for new construction the city invests in and incentivize the installation of solar panels and other green technology;
  • Target the city’s incentives for green retrofits at the dirtiest buildings in the city to get the biggest bang out of our precious taxpayer dollars; and
  • Reduce the city’s carbon footprint by negotiating with Rocky Mountain Power to accelerate the city’s transition to carbon-neutral and renewable energy sources.

Fix the city’s broken roads and crumbling infrastructure

Driving on Salt Lake City’s roads should not feel like navigating an obstacle course. For too long, the city has failed to keep up with our broken roads and crumbling infrastructure.

On the City Council, Erin doubled the number of workers fixing our city’s roads. They’re out on our roads now and next year we’ll have fixed twice as many miles of roadway as we did last year.

As mayor, Erin will:

  • Accelerate street repairs and use the Salt Lake City app to increase the city’s response time for filing potholes;
  • Stop giving away tax dollars to developers by failing to properly invest “impact fees” and start pursuing federal grants for infrastructure projects again;
  • Tap into new revenue streams for financing road improvements without increasing the burden on taxpayers; and
  • Create the first new strategic plan for the city’s roads and infrastructure in more than two decades.

Win the best possible outcome from the Inland Port situation

After state lawmakers passed an outrageous law to steal Salt Lake City’s land-use authority and tax revenue to build the Inland Port, Mayor Biskupski walked away… and Erin stepped up.

As chair of the City Council, Erin led negotiations with state lawmakers that ensured the Port would pay the city for its share of taxes to cover the cost of city services, required 10 percent of tax revenue generated by the Port area to be invested in affordable housing through Salt Lake City, and required the Port area to comply with city codes and public-utility requirements.

As we consider the city’s strategy moving forward, Erin knows we can’t put all our eggs in one basket. The city’s lawsuit is simply about tax revenue and land-use authority — even if we win, it won’t kill the Port. We have to try everything we can to get the best outcome possible for our air quality, open spaces, and economy. As mayor, Erin will:

  • Keep her seat at the table to ensure city taxpayers are fully represented in negotiations with property owners and the state so city residents get as much as they can;
  • Continue the lawsuit against the state’s outrageous theft of city land and tax revenue; and
  • Work with neighboring cities also affected by the Port to ensure our legal rights are protected over the long term.

Expand the city’s safe and affordable housing options

Every resident of Salt Lake City deserves a safe, affordable home. Young people who grow up here can’t afford to stay here, creating a massive drain on our economy, and residents living on fixed incomes are being squeezed out.

On the City Council, Erin led a $21 million initiative through the Redevelopment Agency to create public-private partnerships to expand affordable housing. She also helped create an ongoing revenue stream to support the Housing Trust Fund to get people into homes and keep them there.

As mayor, Erin will:

  • Prevent housing displacement with more low-income loans and by protecting existing affordable housing from demolition;
  • Ensure the Olympic Village housing — should Salt Lake City win the 2030 Olympics — is converted to affordable housing for the community;
  • Create incentives for companies to hire local, hire union, and pay better; and
  • Update enforcement codes to force landlords to address black mold, standing water, and other hazards common to rental units.

Build a thriving and resilient innovation-driven economy

As our city grows, we can and should do more to shape an economy that is diverse, resilient, and more broadly distributes good jobs, opportunity, and security. We need to attract and support entrepreneurs and businesses that will invest in our community, and create a climate that will help small businesses thrive. As mayor, Erin will:

  • Forge a partnership with the universities and leaders in the business community to grow the tech industry presence inside the city limits, creating higher-paying jobs and generating greater tax revenue;
  • Make it easier for businesses to get started in Salt Lake City by updating and improving the city’s permitting processes, and offering assistance to low-income entrepreneurs; and
  • Recruit and embrace businesses aligned with our commitment to sustainable development, good pay, union labor, and fair treatment of workers.

Address the city’s growing homelessness crisis

The imminent reduction in beds for the city’s homeless population because of the closure of the Road Home may leave hundreds of Salt Lakers without a safe place to sleep. Whether they have a home or not, these people are our neighbors and we need to work to help them. As Mayor, Erin will:

  • Engage the state, county, downtown businesses, and residents on a plan for accommodating homeless residents in the winter and when the shelters are full, creating a seasonal, low-barrier emergency shelter with community partners;
  • Double-down on our partnership with Volunteers for America, and properly fund our Downtown Ambassadors and Park Ranger programs to prevent evictions and homelessness by connecting more at-risk people with supportive services;
  • Work to reduce no-fault evictions through strengthening tenants’ rights ordinances, increasing landlord compliance related to fair treatment of tenants.

Work with young people to reduce the threat of gun violence

We all live in fear that the gun violence epidemic that has plagued too many schools around the country will come to Salt Lake City’s public schools. But not all gun violence involves mass shootings. Suicide is the leading cause of death for teenagers in Utah and domestic violence affects thousands of Utahns. These issues demand a response that looks as much at preventing violence as limiting access to firearms. As mayor, Erin will:

  • Bring the Mayor’s Commission on Gun Violence together with the City Council and the Salt Lake City Police Department to not just talk about good ideas for preventing gun violence, but to find paths to implementation;
  • Explore ways the city could help increase the number of guidance counselors in Salt Lake City school to be a resource for students at risk of suicide; and
  • Join Mayors Against Illegal Guns and work with Everytown, Giffords, and March For Our Lives to try to change Utah’s gun laws in a way that will make young Salt Lakers safer.